The Best STEM Challenge Ever

The Best STEM Challenge 

Recommended for grades 5th-8th, but adaptable to any level

STEM space lander challenge. Best STEM challenge on TpT.

STEM space lander challenge. Best STEM challenge on TpT.

Improve Student Learning with a STEM Challenge

The combination of marshmallows and aliens makes this the best STEM challenge ever! With the Space Lander Challenge, student teams build a lander using the Engineering Design Process to keep two marshmallow "aliens" inside a cup as it is dropped from various heights. Using straws, index cards, and mini marshmallows, students apply concepts of shock-absorption, drag forces, and stability, to create and test designs. Common Core aligned math extension problems help students analyze solutions and connect the challenge to real-world scenarios. As with many STEM activities that are student-driven, this challenge can be tailored to students of various skill levels and abilities. As one of our go-to STEM challenges, we have used the STEM Space Lander Challenge in elementary through high school levels with great success!

Top 3 Reasons Students LOVE this STEM Challenge

1. The topics of space and aliens never fail to excite and inspire students. Whether they are trying to assist aliens landing on Earth or attempting to sabotage a rogue alien plot, students are enthusiastic about completing the project and math problems. As aerospace engineers, we also provide teachers with real-world examples and videos to tie in current challenges of the space industry such as NASA's landing of a rover on Mars. 

2. As a hands-on engineering challenge, students are excited to create something that doesn't have one right answer. Student teams discover many creative ways to use materials, and we are always impressed with the innovative design solutions. While working as a team to develop the solution can be difficult, students learn valuable teamwork skills and gain confidence as they work together to complete the goal. 

3, The favorite part is always the testing phase! We have students gather in a circle, and as each team comes to the center to drop their lander, classmates cheer and celebrate together. Failure becomes a teaching moment to encourage critical thinking and problem solving, as students learn to modify and optimize designs. 


Why Teachers LOVE this STEM Challenge 

Teachers love this challenge because the students are completely engaged. Students not only learn, but deeply understand the engineering design process, key science concepts, and math standards all while improving communication and teamwork skills. 

Here is some of the feedback we've received from teachers:

My students loved doing this project! It was easy to use and follow and it kept my students engaged. It is also well organized and helped me give each student a responsibility within the group. Thanks! - Joe E.

This is a very thoughtful product. The kids were very engaged. I really liked that you provided a video clip to set the context for it. Nicely done!!!- Melissa P.

Great project for my students! Even though they are only 3rd graders, they all enjoyed this project. It was easy to adapt and I only used what I needed. I heard several, “This is so much fun!” comments from my kiddos.- Kerri L.

This was truly engaging for my sixth grade class that struggles with focusing on tasks. The papers helped guide them and keep them accountable along the way.- Myra T.

My STEM club kiddos loved this activity so much. They could not get enough of it! Thank you for all the facts and videos included as well! Wonderful- Chelsea C.

Dig Deeper into the Best STEM Challenge EVER

Want more details about how we set up this challenge and what is included in the product? Click here for all the details!

Our kids love the STEM Space Lander Challenge!

Our kids love the STEM Space Lander Challenge!


More Amazing STEM Challenges Your Students Will Love

Click on any of the images below to read about more STEM challenges from other STEM educators.
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Graphics and Font Credits: KG Fonts and PhotoClipz